Joint Committee On Human Rights Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence

64. Memorandum from HM Inspectorate of Prisons (Scotland)

  I am responding to Mr Evans' letter inviting comment on human rights issues.

  HM Inspectorate of Prisons in Scotland always tries to make time for human rights during its inspections. We conduct our inspections under three main headings, safety, decency and crime prevention, all three of which contain elements concerning the rights of individual prisoners.

  During inspection, we interview groups of prisoners (as well as talking to individuals) ensuring as far as is possible that groups are representative of that particular establishment. To illustrate this, I enclose a copy of our 2001 inspection report on HMP Greenock.[73] At the time of inspection, Greenock held a number of immigration detainees (who are now housed in Dungavel Detention Centre). We heard their views and inspected the conditions under which they were held. To ensure that expert advice was obtained we also invited Mr Dharmendra Kanani, Head of the Commission for Racial Equality (Scotland) to accompany us.

  By way of further example of our commitment to address this issue also enclosed is a copy of our 1999 thematic inspection on remand prisoners Punishment First—Verdict Later?[74] In particular, I would draw your attention to Annex 2 "Convention for Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms".

  As an inspectorate we do not normally offer advice or assistance on compliance with human rights nor do we feel that it would be appropriate to attempt to establish a culture of human rights amongst prison staff; that we believe falls more naturally to the Scottish Prison Service as employer.

26 April 2002

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